Summers are a wonderful time to be in the outdoors after the cruel winter departs. Everything looks wonderful and children love to be in the outdoors, but as a parent, you need to be extra cautious that your kids are safe in the sunshine. In some parts of the world, summers are beastly, so it is imperative that parents insist that kids play in the shade, if possible, or indoors.
When summers are intense, kids are the first casualty and they soon end up with some of the commonest summer diseases. Cough, cold and fever, apart from sunstroke are common. However, with careful handling and precautions taken well in time, these diseases can well be avoided. A healthy and nourishing diet can also play its own important role in staving off summer type infections and diseases.Here are some of the commonest summer diseases children experience:
Summer Diseases in Children
Norovirus : A stomach bug that is transmitted through contaminated food or water, or from coming in contact with an already infected person or through making physical contact with a contaminated object, norovirus causes extreme stomach upset amongst kids. Children experience diarrhea and vomiting when they contract this bug. It can also be contracted through swimming in a pool contaminated with this infection. Parents can prevent norovirus from affecting their kids by making them wash their hands frequently and giving them a hygienic environment.
Food Poisoning : If you leave food out in a hot environment for a protracted period, it attracts bacteria. When you or your children eat such food, it results in food poisoning. Microorganisms breed in the digestive tract, leading to infection and symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting and pain in the stomach, and sometimes a fever too. This is more common during the summer when the environment is humid enough for bacteria to proliferate. So, it’s a good idea to check your food’s temperature and put leftovers in the fridge where it can remain fresh or just throw it out. If you feed your kids meat in the summer, ensure that it’s cooked right through. And, ensure your kitchen is 100% clean.
Measles : A severe disease among children, measles is caused due to the virus, Paramyxo. It infects the throats of children and cause them to be hospitalized. It is present in the air and is also caused by person to person infection. Typical symptoms include a runny nose, cough and fever, red eyes, sore throat and difficulty in swallowing liquids and solids. A rash with red spots show up on the face and near the hair. A lack of appetite is a major symptom here. One way of preventing measles from developing is to give children the MMR vaccine.
Asthma : Smog, high levels of pollen, heavy growth of mold and heavy air pollution are triggers for children contracting asthma during summers. If your child is already asthmatic, ensure that he takes his medication every day and keep him away from pollen and areas of dust and heavy air pollution. It’s advisable to keep him indoors for the most part.
Coxsackie virus : This virus rears its head in the summer, causing hand, foot and mouth disease among children. If kids under 10 years of age are infected with this virus, they will display symptoms such as fever, oral ulcers, sore throat, drooling, refusing to drink liquids and blisters on the hands and feet. Coxsackie spreads from person-to-person through mucous, saliva and feces, but kids usually recover within a week’s treatment. A saltwater gargle each day helps take away the soreness in the mouth. Eating cold foods like ice cream can soften inflamed throats. However, you need to ensure that your child is hydrated or he will run a temperature.
Lyme disease : This insect-borne disease is at its peak in a hot environment when most people are in the outdoors where they are faced with ticks in their yards or in the woods. If your child has a fever, body ache, headache, arthritis, or facial paralysis after the tick has bitten him, you should take him to a doctor without delay. A course of antibiotics can help treat kids, but if left untreated, it could result in damage to the nerves, heart and joints. Lyme disease can be prevented by using lyme repellants on exposed skin.
Eczema and skin rashes : Eczema is common among children during summer. It is identified by an irritating skin rash caused due to skin allergies that grow and spread due to the heat of summer. However, care should be taken not to be out in the sun, which can dry out your child’s skin and cause the irritation of eczema. Sweat only makes it worse. So, if your kid does suffer from eczema, wipe the skin when in sunshine so that no sweat builds up. Also, ensure that you use a hypoallergenic sunscreen and a skin moisturizer on your child’s skin each day. Let him wear cool clothing that doesn’t irritate his skin.
Tips to prevent common summer diseases among kids:
- Ensure that your child drinks liquids from time to time so that he doesn’t get dehydrated. Fresh fruit juices are preferable to colas and other packaged drinks. It would help if he carried a few of his favorite beverages with him.
- You and your child should maintain the highest level of hygiene and cleanliness at home and wherever else you might go.
- Put him on a diet of rich in fibers, water-based fruits like water melon, minerals and vegetables.
- Do not give him cut veggies and fruits or street food that may be spicy, cooked a long time ago, spicy and oily.
- Dress your child in loose and lightweight cottons. Ensure that he wears a cap when he’s outdoors and uses sunscreen on the exposed parts of his body.
- Keep him indoors during the hottest parts of the day, i.e. 10am to 2pm.
- Keep him out of crowded areas and away from the direct glare of the sun.